Jared Rusten “Stockton Slapped” Together Another Mural of Nate Diaz

Nearly two years ago, Jared Rusten, an artist out of Stockton, California, decided to mix his typical day of woodworking with several rounds of painting one of MMA’s most iconic images: Nate Diaz flexing into the camera with a bloodstained face moments after submitting Conor McGregor at UFC 196.

In a post on Instagram from April 26, 2016, Rusten shared his motivation for honoring the Diaz brother, a beloved representative of the 209, “Occasionally, I’m seized with an impulse to do some non-furniture art, and I just can’t ignore it, even when I don’t have time. Nate Diaz is a hero to many in Stockton, and I figured he needed a tribute. He gives Stocktonians something to feel proud of and, like Michael Tubbs and others here, he has a really compelling story.”

Unfortunately, vandals destroyed Rusten’s composition. When news of the incident spread like wildfire within both Stockton’s and MMA’s community, the smooth handiwork of Rusten was requested. Since it’s impossible to keep anyone from “Mudville” down, Rusten opted to redo the mural depicting one of Stockton’s most famous sons.

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I'm a better furniture maker than a street artist, but sometimes stuff like this just happens after clocking out. I put up the first version 2 years ago, but in the last few months, it got defaced and people kept asking me to fix it. So, this was 2am in downtown Stockton the other night – a couple blocks from my studio… Andrew @streetartanarchy handled the logistics and encouraged me to keep going even though the streetlight was so bright, I couldn't see the projection. The cops rolled up a few times to make sure we were okay…haha (checking my privilege here) and lots of people honked and yelled support. When the rain stops I'll go back and touch up a few things that I missed/screwed up. I'm not going to say I was the best person to do this job, but it just needed doing… to remind people in downtown Stockton that even when the odds are against you, you can still prevail, and surprise the world. #natediaz #stocktonca #downtownstockton #ufc196 #jrfs

A post shared by Jared Rusten (@jrusten) on

Rusten described the refurbishing of his street art as, “I’m a better furniture maker than a street artist, but sometimes stuff like this just happens after clocking out. I put up the first version two years ago, but in the last few months, it got defaced and people kept asking me to fix it. So, this was 2 a.m. in downtown Stockton the other night—a couple blocks from the studio.” He continued, “When the rain stops, I’ll go back and touch up a few things that I missed/screwed up. I’m not going to say I was the best person to do this job, but it just needed doing…to remind people in downtown Stockton that even when the odds are against you, you can still prevail, and surprise the world.”

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